Jobu takes it back. He takes it all back.
Well fans, it has finally happened. Jobu has been humbled. At the beginning of the basketball season I wrote some pretty scathing remarks about the New York Knicks and their off-season roster moves. I called them old. I called them dumb. Now that they have won the Atlantic Division, I have no choice but to apologize.
In fact, as of the time I write this, the Knicks have won 13 games in a row (update: they finally lost to the Bulls Thursday night). If you had told me in October that these things would be happening, I would have called you a crazy person. The Knicks are 51-26, and recently cemented their status as contenders by beating the Oklahoma City Thunder in their own house in convincing fashion. Anyway, here’s a breakdown of the things I said and me trying to remove my foot from my mouth as painlessly as possible.
Age Before Beauty
“The two biggest acquisitions the Knicks have made were the signing of Jason Kidd, and the sign-and-trade deal they made with Houston for Marcus Camby. These two amazing moves are have surely put in place the final pieces the Knicks required to become a championship caliber team! That’s what I would have said in 2005, when these two guys were in their primes.” – Jobu
This actually isn’t so bad. Kidd, however, has been solid. In 26.9 minutes per game, he’s averaged 6.2 points and 3.3 assists. He’s also shooting .358 from three-point range. Those numbers might not bowl you over, but he’s done a good job of being the Knicks backup point guard and letting guys like Melo, and even Raymond Felton, run the show. He’s been a great complimentary piece. Camby, on the other hand, did exactly what I thought he would do. He’s currently injured, as he has been most of the year. A myriad of injuries have limited him to 24 games this year. At least I got that right. Although I still hold my ground in saying that the length of these two contracts (3 years apiece) might be a little cray cray, especially for Camby.
I’m sorry, Jason Kidd.
The Lin Situation
Also, this Knicks team really isn’t that good, and they’ve spent the entire off-season getting older and not securing any players that will help them in the years to come (except maybe Iman Shumpert, whom they have managed not to trade or give away yet). Outside of Stoudemire, Anthony and Chandler, they don’t have a lot going for them. At least they brought back Smith and Steve Novak to provide a lift off the bench.
As with the other trade the Knicks made last week, this seems like a lot for a guy who played 50 good games in 2010 and then was fat and terrible in Portland in 2011. They’ve also guaranteed him the starting job in front of Jason Kidd. That’s probably the right move considering Kidd’s age and 2012 injuries, but is Felton really a starting point guard?
I will say one thing about this Lin post. I still feel the same way about the terrible job the Knicks did of bungling the whole thing. It just so happens to have worked out for them. My criticism of the actual move was more based on Knicks ownership guaranteeing they would bring Lin back and then completely botching the entire situation.
The real crime in this post is my underestimation of the talent on this Knicks team. J.R. Smith has been pretty fantastic this season, averaging 17.8 points and 5.2 rebounds per game. He’s also hit some pretty big shots, from late game daggers to incredible buzzer beaters. He’s really come through for the Knicks this year in a way I didn’t really think he could. He’s not just a bench player after all.
Raymond Felton has really rebounded for the Knicks this season, making Linsanity something I haven’t heard talked about all season long. After the madness that ensued with him last season, I didn’t think it would be possible to put him on the back burner so quickly. Felton has really come through as the starting point guard for this team. He’s averaged 14.9 points and 5.9 assists per game and has formed a pretty excellent tandem with future Hall of Famer Jason Kidd.
I’m sorry J.R. Smith and Raymond Felton.
Other Reasons I’m Generally Sorry
I criticized Carmelo Anthony a lot during the negotiations with Jeremy Lin as well. Basically, I called him an ego maniac who cared more about his personal statistics than winning games. This season, Melo has really proven me wrong. Sure he’s been a little selfish, but only as selfish as an absolute superstar needs to be to take his team to the top of the division. Melo is having one of his better seasons. He’s battling the Thunder’s Kevin Durant for the NBA scoring title, currently topping the league with 28.6 points per game. He recently had a stretch where he scored 239 points in six games (the tail end of this Knicks winning streak). He’s also pulling down 6.6 rebounds per game and dishing nearly 3 times per game too. He’s been phenomenal, and this might be his year. For what? For everything. MVP, NBA championship… you name it.
ANother thing the Knicks have been able to do incredibly well this season is overcome adversity. Here’s a laundry list of every player that has been injured at one point or another this season for the Knicks. Tyson Chandler (currently injured), Kenyon Martin (currently injured), Marcus Camby (currently injured, mostly injured this year), Carmelo Anthony (cyst surgery on his knee earlier), Rasheed Wallace (currently injured, may not return), Amar’e Stoudemire (currently injured, may not return), Kurt Thomas (currently injured, may not return), and Iman Shumpert (started the year injured). If I missed anyone, please let me know, but I think you get the point. They’ve dealt with a shit ton of injuries this year. Despite all that, They’re still division champions. They’re still contenders. In fact, despite all the current injuries, they seem to be playing better than they have all season. Go figure.
Anyway, the point is that I completely lambasted the Knicks off-season and completely underestimated how they would perform during the season. Congratulations to the Knicks. They’ve earned my apology, and the accolades they deserve.
I’m sorry New York Knicks.
Featured image courtesy of: Streeter Lecka/Getty Images
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